Covering only a few blocks in Hong Kong, 33,0000 families crammed into 300 high rise, interconnected buildings. Outside of health and safety regulations, each high rise was a tangle of dark mazes and dripping pipes. Bereft of an architects or engineers over sight, Kowloon city stood in spite of gravity. Filled with windowless flats, the cities only refuge came in the open air of the apartments roofs.
Such was the subversive and grimy undercurrent that ran through Kowloon, it became a haven for drug dealers and criminals hiding from the law. As opium dens, brothels, casino’s, food courts serving dog and even illegal dentistry moved in, so did the Chinese Triads. The Triads power and ruthlessness controlled the hundreds of flats and manipulated the cities occupants, the stand over tactics serving as a form of rough justice in a place otherwise abandoned by law.
However, over time, the authorities became fed up with the high crime rates and squalor of Kowloon’s inhabitants. and in 1991, despite protests from residents Kowloon city was demolished.
These fascinating photo’s give a rare insight into the lives of those who lived in the walled city of Kowloon.Taken by Canadian photographer Greg Girard in collaboration with Ian Lamboth, the photo’s are a result of the pair spending five years familiarising themselves with the notorious city. Destitute of laws and defying physics, Kowloon city was a modern wonder that no one is keen to re-visit.